09/05/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/05/2019 21:53
ITASCA, IL - Today, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), held a roundtable discussion on distracted driving at the National Safety Council with local leaders, elected officials, and advocates on the States Afforded Funding Extensions To Oppose Driving Recklessly In Vehicular Engagements (SAFE TO DRIVE) Act, bipartisan legislation co-authored by Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin. This legislation expands access to grant funding for states to use in distracted driving prevention. In 2017, a total of 3,166 people died in distracted driving incidents, underscoring the urgency for advancing this legislation. Participants in the roundtable included Illinois State Representative Diane Pappas, DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin, Lorraine Martin, President and CEO for National Safety Council, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety CEO Cathy Chase, and Dave Nadig, Deputy General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Government and Industry Relations at Allstate.
'On the day of the Packers-Bears season opener, there isn't much that Congressman Mike Gallagher and I agree on right now,' said Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of his colleague who represent Green Bay. 'But today we can agree on one thing: distracted driving is a persistent issue that is threatening the health of our communities, and we can and must do more to promote distracted driving awareness. Alongside elected officials and safety advocates, today we celebrated the robust support of our bipartisan legislation, the SAFE TO DRIVE Act, which would educate drivers about the dangerous effects of distracted driving. The number of distracted driving deaths and injuries in the United States has increased dramatically in recent years, and it is time for Congress to provide states with the needed resources to mitigate these incidents.'
'Distracted driving is a persistent killer,' said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. 'Our need to be connected shouldn't outweigh our need to be safe. We applaud Congressman Krishnamoorthi's efforts to curb distracted driving, and we will continue to work closely with him to eliminate these preventable incidents.'
Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) said, 'Advocates commends Congressman Krishnamoorthi for introducing the SAFE TO DRIVE Act of 2019 (H.R. 2416). This common-sense legislation will encourage states to pass strong distracted driving laws to qualify for grant funding to undertake efforts to combat this dangerous behavior, as well as improve grant transparency. Advocates urges state elected officials to take proactive steps to reduce distracted driving by upgrading laws to account for the use of modern smartphone features including streaming video and chat apps. Advocates also call on Congress to direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to require proven collision avoidance technologies that can prevent distracted driving crashes or reduce their severity. These technologies, including automatic emergency braking, should be installed as standard equipment with minimum performance standards on all new vehicles.'
'Representative Krishnamoorthi's SAFE TO DRIVE Act will incentivize states like Illinois to enact common-sense anti-distracted driving laws that save lives and ensure safer roadways for all. Allstate is a leader in combatting dangerous driving habits and will continue to work with the Congressman to see his legislation enacted,' said David Nadig, Deputy General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations for Allstate.
The SAFE TO DRIVE Act aims to reduce the growing number of distracted driving deaths by giving states the proper resources to educate drivers and help enforce distracted driving laws.